Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The most unnecessary loan word in the Japanese language!

Raisu Krinkles!
I'm a bit too beat to go through my old posts and link here now, but my loyal readers might remember that I have discussed the enthusiasm that the Japanese have for loan words borrowed from English and making up new and unique faux-English abbreviations.

I usually don't mind the English words sprinkled in (but mostly pronounced in such a way that a native English speaker might have problems hearing that it's originally an English word) but there are some that are clearly unnecessary as the Japanese language has words that carry exactly the same meaning and is easier to say for a native Japanese speaker.

One example that comes to mind is the use of "ベター" (Betaa) from the English word "Better". So when saying "this is better" instead of the regular way of saying it ("のほうがいいです") they replace the Japanese word with the bastardized version of "better" ("のほうがベターです”). I don't particularly mind this use, but I find it quite amusing and use it as often as I can.

However, the most unnecessary loan word in the Japanese language is... ... ... "raisu": "Rice" pronounced in Japanese. Remember that this is a country where the whole food culture is built on the foundation of rice. I dare you to find a Japanese person who doesn't like rice and most people eat it basically every day, many with three meals. Baby Sunshine quite frequently refuses to eat anything else, showing that her quarter of white genes are fighting a losing battle. So for this, the most fundamental and basic of all foodstuff in Japan, it is not uncommon to use the English word for it here in Japan.

I think that this would be somewhat comparable with Eskimos importing the English words "Ice" and "snow" for daily use instead of the words in the native language...


Chris said...

I'm annoyed just reading this and that pic makes me more angry. Whats wrong with "Rice Krispies"??

Some of the alternate names for famous movies are longer than the original. Who the fuck gets paid to do this shit??

Anonymous said...

I wouldn´t be surprise if the "fishu" instead of the Sakana grows on that would be sad

Mr. S. said...

Chris, my favourite movie title, going back more than a decade, was 'aribaaransusuruuitto'. Spoiler: Brad Pitt is good at fly-fishing in Montana, but dies in a bar fight, off screen.

Joe said...

Don't even get me started on words like "ウィルス"! "It's English, right? And you're an American!?"

TheOctopus said...

Not long after reading this post I came across this and had to laugh (in a very quiet, non-hysterical way) at the the t-shirt depicted therein.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Chris - Well, I think it seems fair to say that these "krinkles" lost the rice cereal battles in any case so I think you can sleep well at night!

Canthushme - Since "mii-to/ミート" is an accepted substitute for the Japanese word for meat and I've seen it in use quite often I think you should brace yourself the next time you're here!

Mr. S - I have no idea which movie that it, but you have spoiled it for me in any case ;)

Joe - Ok, but still, ウィルス is much more legit that ライス I would say, at least the former differentiate between computer viruses and real viruses (most of the time)

Octopus- Well, where have you been hiding? Under a rock would be very suitable considering the species? I should get myself one of those t-shirts btw!

Tavish said...

nice blog dude.

i can relate to several of your posts since im gaijin as well.

with rice however, dont they have like 10 different names for it?

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